July 17, 2008

Former NHL'er Francois Leroux Named MAHL Commissioner

Former NHL toughman Francois Leroux was known for putting his fist down into the head of opponents.

Now, he'll be putting his fist down when it comes to tough decisions.

Today, Leroux was named to the commissioner's post of the eight-month old Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, a minor professional league that is based in the Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It's basically a developmental league for former college and junior players looking to move up the ranks in the hockey world. Leroux played for the Oilers, Penguins, Avalanche, and Senators throughout his 249 game career that ended in 2003 and since then has been running a sporting goods manufacturing company.

The MAHL's first season ended with a whimper. Due to serious financial issues throughout the league, play was suspended in February and the Indiana Ice Minors (located in Pennsylvania) were declared champions. Two teams folded and two others have relocated since. Currently, the league has seven teams ready to play with hopes of bumping the number of viable franchises within the league to as many as twelve.

An interesting side note: the Lake Erie Vikings, formerly known as the Jamestown Vikings cited the reason for moving was due to an off-ice incident involving several players. Apparently, the players in question trashed a lodge they were in, believing that MAHL and (at the time) team owner Andrew Haines owned it. It was later revealed that the teams' arena revoked the lease in the midst of the league-wide financial troubles.

Sounds like Leroux has a lot of work ahead of him. Or maybe not.

According to the league press release, "Leroux will be responsible for refining the MAHL’s efforts to develop young talent and move players and coaches from the “A” level to higher levels of hockey including the ECHL, Central Hockey League and International Hockey League."

So the commissioner won't have any sort of hand in the business operations side of the league? I sure hope they hired some new people that can handle that task.

Otherwise, we might see another World Hockey Association 2.

Ballhype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Scotty Hockey said...

I wonder if there is any coincidence with them deciding to move forward and the impending start of the EPHL ... Now if they joined forces, that might be the start of something worthwhile but until then, both are likely to be jokes ...